Monday, June 25, 2012

Opinion v Fact

Everyone has a right to their own opinions.  But not their own facts.  Can’t we at least agree on the facts?  That’s what the sign I carry at demonstrations says.  Facts are neutral, not Democratic or Republican; just facts.  Their neutrality provides the glue that holds society together; the common frame of reference we need to communicate and dialogue.  Without facts communication and dialogue are not possible. Corrupting, twisting, shading or straight forward lying about facts makes communication and dialogue impossible.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of and question our beliefs.  Beliefs always bend and bias facts.  Beliefs make people selective about facts, make us pay attention to only the facts that support our beliefs and discard the rest.  The more invested in our beliefs we are, the more subjective and less objective we are, and the more impossible it becomes to dialogue and communicate with those whose beliefs differ from ours. 

If dialogue and communication are important, then facts are important.  If one does not wish to dialogue or communicate, but simply wants to impose his beliefs on the world, then facts are unnecessary.

In fact, people who simply want to impose their beliefs on the world, dislike, even hate facts.  Such people give lip service to the importance of facts, but really think facts, Science and critical thinking are dangerous. Such people, groups and organizations seek to corrupt facts, muddy the waters, lie, shade and distort facts.  Such people think ignorance is good.  Just be still and go along.  You don’t know what the President knows.  He has the facts.  Trust him. The way we did with Johnson in Nam and Bush with his WMD. Just watch your sports, play your video games and watch the so-called news that isn’t news but opinion. Do anything but get the facts and think about them!

If dialogue and communication are important, then facts are important.  Facts make communication and dialogue possible, without them communication and dialogue are impossible.

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